The only snow in Kelowna is the slush in the frozen treats of tourists enjoying the beach and yet Ash Grunwald is still heading for Kelowna.
As an unabashed snowboarding diehard with an incredible knack for mastering the solo act, the Australian father of two has made touring mountain resorts a career and never been to Kelowna during the sunny months.
Add to this new hot twist on Grunwald’s act a really unique element in his latest album—a band—and fans of the power bluesman will know this tour is a step outside the box for a man who one might never have guessed had musical boundaries.
“My show is constantly evolving and changing,” he said in interview from Los Angeles where his family was taking in the surf.
To fans, it means extreme variety. He’s taken the one-man kick-drum and guitar situation, moved into electronic by adding an iPad, and now returned to a combination of organic and electronic in every show. And he’s stepping outside the one-man style.
Over the winter he was playing alongside Scott Owen and Andy Strachan of the Australian punk-psychobilly outfit The Living End, launching his seventh studio album, Gargantua, as a collaborative effort with the pair.
“I really enjoyed the freedom of having a bass player again,” he said. “That’s not something I’ve really had in my professional career, since I started releasing albums.”
Grunwald’s niche is mastering the singleton show, extending his reach on what’s possible to create with just two feet and two hands. Adding actual band members is a true departure, even without considering how The Living End’s punk style and his blues underpinnings meld. But genre mixing has never been a problem for Grunwald, as one can see from the cover of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy on the new album.
Another fall-back choice Grunwald would like to try changing up in the coming year is his habit of working to the extreme. If it seems like the man was just here, that’s because he was and he’s also put out seven albums in nine years, claiming he needs to stay on schedule to stay creative or he gets lazy.
“I haven’t taken many breaks over the years, but I’m about to take a really long one in Bali,” he said.
Hoping to rally his partner, baby and four-and-a-half year old daughter for a long sojourn of surfing and Polynesian culture, he said he’s ready to try stepping away from the music scene for a while.
To see Ash Grunwald, likely for the last time in Kelowna for at least a couple of years, come out to the Minstrel Café August 21, 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance through the Minstrel Cafe 250-764-2301.